This month we're inspiring you to take up a new hobby or activity and what could be easier than walking? It's a great way to stay fit, healthy and happy. Best of all it's free. Our youth hostels make a great base for walkers with toasty boot and drying rooms for wet weather gear and friendly, knowledgeable staff always ready to point you in the right direction.

Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel is surrounded by some fantastic walking routes so, to get you started on your SYHAdventure we have scouted ahead and tried out one of Forestry Commission Scotland's Glenmore Forest Park trails.

Trail Map

Trail: Meall a’ Bhuachaille (pronounced Meal a Voo-cal - Gaelic for ‘The Herd’s Hill’)

Start Point: Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel

Distance: 5.8 miles / 9.4 kilometers – Allow 3 - 4 hours

Description: This is a circular route that takes you past The Green Lochan via the Ryvoan Pass and offers one of the best views of the Cairngorms once you reach the top of the hill. For this trail we suggest that you have proper hill-walking equipment as there are steep, rocky mountain paths throughout.

Route: From the youth hostel head out via the back garden 

Cross the bridge on the right and pass in front of the Glenmore Visitors Centre...

Trail Bridge

You’ll see the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre in front of you, and for a small charge, you can pop in and see the Reindeer in the paddock before you head off along the trail...

Cairngorm Reindeer

Continue along the road past the Reindeer Centre...

Cairngorm Trail Marker

…until you pick up the marked path on the left hand side that runs parallel to the road...

Cairngorm Trail

Follow the path straight, you'll pass the Glenmore Lodge National Outdoor Training Centre (GPS 98726/09500) on your right.

About 3km from the start of the route you will arrive at An Lochan Uaine (The Green Lochan - GPS 00025/10581). The green colour is said to have been caused by fairies washing their clothes...

Green Lochan

On the right, a short path to leads to the viewing platform...

Green Lochan Viewing Platform

Take a gentle stroll alongside the mystical looking lochan...

Green Lochan Cairngorms

Continuing on the main path you will come to a fork – take the left branch sign posted “Nethy Bridge” (GPS 00291/11056)...

Cairngorms Trail Fork

When you get to the Abernethy Nature Reserve sign, be sure to turn around and admire the view...

Keep walking until you arrive at Ryvoan Bothy (00622/11506)...

Ryvoan Bothy

…which sits at the foot of the path to the summit of Meall a’ Bhuchaille. Turn Left in front of the bothy and follow the path – if you are anything like us you might have to stop a few times to rest your legs admire the view as it is something of a steep climb from here, but it is a short one, and the views are well worth the effort...

Once at the summit Cairn you can see into the Cairngorm range and on a clear day all the way across to Ben Nevis and Craig Megaidh to the south. The path down is on the opposite side of the summit to the path up...

Cairngorm Trail Path Down

Continue down this path to the bottom of the saddle, and when the path forks take the track to the left heading down hill (GPS 98544/11589)...

Cairngorm Trail Fork

...as you pass the pine tree...

Cairngorm Pine Tree

…and keep following the path, using the stepping stones to cross the burns...

Cairngorms Trail Crossing burns

When you get to the “Follow in the steps on the herdsman…” sign...

Herdsman Sign

...take the right fork with the orange marker...

Fork with orange marker

…which leads down to the road at the end of the youth hostel grounds at the junction with the visitors centre car park.

Cairngorm Trail Ends

Finally head back to Cairngorm Youth Hostel for a well deserved cuppa! For more information on Glenmore Forest Park trails please click here to download the Glenmore Guide Map by the Forestry Commission Scotland. It provides essential information for visitors that are interested in walking or cycling in the area. You will find a summary of each of their trails, a grade based on its degree of difficulty and detailed maps to keep you on route.

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